Category

Energy Saving

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

How to Slay The Vampire Energy Sources to Save Money

what is vampire energy

Your home is full of devices that drain vampire energy. Learn how to slay these energy vampires, to help save money and the environment.

I used to work in an office where the digital clock on the microwave was always on. Yet there was a wall clock directly above the microwave, making the clock on the microwave completely redundant.  Microwaves are great energy-saving devices when used properly, but in this instance, this microwave was most definitely drawing vampire energy.

What is an energy vampire

What Is Vampire Energy?

Vampire energy is quite a dramatic term for the power that appliances and electrical goods use when they are plugged in but on stand-by.  Your TV that displays a red standby light when not in use? An energy vampire. The microwave that displays the time when you’re not using it? Another energy vampire.

To illustrate this further, I read somewhere once that it is estimated that a typical microwave is on for 70 hours a year. Yet a microwave draws power for more than 100 times as long, just to keep the clock and electronic controls powered. That means you are using energy and paying extra on your bills for appliances you are not even using.

One blogger found that in fact, his microwave clock was consuming 25-30% of the power of the heating element of his microwave. That’s a lot of unnecessary energy wasted.

What Devices Drain Vampire Energy?

Lots of common household appliances drain vampire energy. These include:

  • TVs on standby
  • Microwaves with inbuilt clocks
  • Ovens with inbuilt clocks
  • Mobile phone chargers (once fully charged)
  • Electric toothbrush chargers (once fully charged)
  • Laptops (once fully charged)
  • Desktop computer monitors on standby
  • Printers
  • TV Boxes
  • Stereos
  • Video Games Consoles

How To Save Energy & Money

To defeat the energy vampires, it’s thankfully not as complex as slaying Dracula. There are less extreme ways to save energy than driving a stake through your television set.

Simply switching off the appliances at the wall when you’re not using them is enough to save a staggering amount of energy with very little effort. Unplugging rechargeable devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, and electric toothbrushes as quickly as possible once they’re fully charged is also another good way to save money and energy.

If switching the socket off at the wall isn’t an option, you can buy switched extension leads*, where every socket on the extension cable has its own individual switch.

It’s quite a staggering amount of energy that could be saved with one simple flick of the switch – they don’t come much easier than that!

Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Why You Shouldn’t Dry Clothes On Your Radiator

Yet another wet day and your laundry pile is growing? Before you pile everything on to your radiators, here’s why you shouldn’t dry your clothes on your radiator.

It’s really important for us to save energy where we can. This is because the energy we use in our homes creates about a quarter of all carbon emissions from our homes. If we can cut our electricity and gas use, we cut our carbon emissions, helping to tackle climate change.

I am all about saving energy. And I want everyone else to be energy conscious too. Whilst big changes, like insulating your home, can make a big difference, I want to focus on the simple changes anyone can do, whether you own your home or not. For this series, I’m therefore focusing on the tips that don’t need any fancy equipment, nor do they require you to spend any money whatsoever. This is especially relevant as energy bills are expected to rise steeply in 2021.

So, my next energy saving tip is about drying clothes on your radiator. Specifically why you shouldn’t/

Why You Shouldn’t Dry Clothes On Your Radiator

Hanging wet clothes on your radiator makes your boiler work harder, to get your room to your desired temperature. This means it takes longer to heat your home. In turn, this uses more energy to heat your home and costs you more money.

Instead:

Why you shouldn't dry clothes on your radiator
Image c/o Visit Scotland

Use a clothes horse! Although perhaps not quite as literally as this photo of Shetland ponies actually wearing cardigans suggests…!

A clothes horse allows warm air to circulate freely around the room.  I know it’s not always easy. We live in a tiny house with barely any room for clothes horses.  Our tiny kitchen is rammed full of them, to the point where we struggle to get past them. Sometimes desperation does call for me to dry clothes on my radiators, but I try to keep it to the odd desperate occasion rather than an everyday thing. 

In our previous flat, we were lucky enough to have quite high ceilings. The flat even came with an original ceiling-mounted pulley for drying clothes.  It was amazing for drying clothes and sheets, and meant we didn’t need to dry our clothes on the radiator. If you’ve got high ceilings I cannot recommend them enough.  You can pick them up easily online from £12 (the cheaper ones come without the wooden slats for easy postage – you can then get wood cut to fit at your local wood merchants).  And they have a nice vintage look to them if you’re into that kind of thing.

Top Tips for Drying Clothes Indoors

If you don’t ventilate your home properly when drying clothes indoors, then you are building yourself up to have a variety of problems.

Not ventilating can cause dampness – where black mould grows on your walls or ceiling. The NHS says that this mould can trigger allergic reactions, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and/or a skin rash. It can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma.

If you can, dry your clothes in a room where you can open a window and close the door on it, to allow the air to circulate freely. If that’s not possible, opening your windows every day for at least fifteen minutes helps fresh air to freely circulate, reducing the chance of dampness occuring.

How Your Washing Machine Can Help

While we’re on the subject of clothes and laundry, your washing machine can help you dry your clothes faster.  

You see, I had a recent revelation. My washing machine’s standard wash cycle spins my clothes at 1200 rpm, but its maximum spin is 1400 rpm.  Upon realising this (just the other week!),  after the cycle finishes, I set it to do a 1400 rpm spin to get the last drops of water out.  I’ve found this significantly reduces the time it takes to either tumble dry my clothes (I know, I know, but I use it sparingly). Or I dry them on my clothes horse. This reduces the chances of that nasty “took too long to dry” smell.  Which makes me very happy indeed, and reduces the likelihood of me opting to dry my clothes on the radiator.  It’s the little things in life!

If you enjoyed this then I also have a load of eco-friendly laundry tips right this way.